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updated: 9/23/2013 11:53 PM

Teammates concerned about collision on Cutler's key run

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  • Bears running back Michael Bush scores a touchdown between Steelers linebacker Vince Williams (98) and defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) in the first quarter Sunday at Pittsburgh.

      Bears running back Michael Bush scores a touchdown between Steelers linebacker Vince Williams (98) and defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) in the first quarter Sunday at Pittsburgh.
    Associated Press

 
 

No one's denying that Jay Cutler's 13-yard scramble on third-and-10 in the fourth quarter Sunday was a huge play, since it kept alive a TD drive that gave the Bears breathing room at 34-23 late in the game.

But Cutler lowering his shoulder into safety Robert Golden at the end of the run instead of sliding and saving himself from contact made some Bears uncomfortable.

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"I wanted to make sure I had the first down," Cutler said, noting that officials spot the ball at the point when a quarterback begins his slide. "We were struggling on third down, and I wanted to make sure we kept the drive going. I just wanted to stay on the field and make sure we got another crack at it."

Golden appeared to get the worst of the collision. And, as much as Bears coach Marc Trestman wants to keep his quarterback healthy, he said he bought Cutler's excuse.

"He wasn't sure, and that's why he decided to let himself go and do what he did," Trestman said. "It was an exceptional run and just another part of Jay that we're seeing. It was a very important play at a very important time in the game. (But) we want him to slide whenever he can."

It wasn't just coaches who cringed when Cutler lowered his shoulder.

"I kinda winced a little bit, too," wide receiver Earl Bennett said. "Hey man, slide. He's a hard, hard player. I know that each and every week he's going to give his all."

More health issues:

With the Lions and all-pro, 6-foot-5, 236-pound wide receiver Calvin Johnson next up for the Bears, the health of Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Tillman is a major concern.

Tillman missed most of the second half Sunday night with a groin injury. He missed most of last week's practices with a knee injury, and he was briefly sidelined in the season opener because of dehydration.

Tillman, 32, has not missed a start in more than three years, and he's missed just 3 starts since 2007.

"He got a little tight at the end of the game, so we just held him out," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "We're going to be very cautious with him this week. He'll probably be out on Wednesday and we'll go through the same progression. We're optimistic that he'll be ready to go on Sunday."

One at a time:

Former Bears coach Lovie Smith divided the season into four four-game quarters. Marc Trestman splits it up differently.

"I look at every game as Game One of the season," Trestman said. "It's the only game there ever is and ever will be, and that's the one we've got to focus on and try to be at our best, and let the rest take care of itself."

Role playing:

Michael Bush's 8 carries vs. the Steelers doubled his season total, and although he managed just 9 yards, he scored on a 1-yard run.

Featured runner Matt Forte had a 5-yard TD run.

"We've isolated and declared Michael our goal-line running back," coach Marc Trestman said. "We were at the five (when Forte scored). But when we're in our goal-line situations, that is Michael's role."

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